Department of Energy, TVA Enter MOU on Hydropower Technology Development

The U.S. Department of Energy and the Tennessee Valley Authority on March 14 announced a memorandum of understanding to enhance collaboration on hydropower technology development.

Joint efforts will focus on evaluating and demonstrating different approaches for operating hydropower plants to meet the electricity grid’s changing needs. The DOE entered the MOU through its Water Power Technologies Office.

Under the MOU, WPTO and its national laboratory partners will focus on quantifying the value hydropower and pumped storage facilities provide to the electricity grid and applying advanced modeling to predict the effects of climate change on TVA's hydropower systems. They will also work to understand how fleetwide data can inform plant-level decisions, such as when to conduct maintenance activities.

TVA will focus on techniques and technologies that allow its hydropower system to adapt to the changing needs of the Tennessee Valley and the broader electricity industry. This may involve demonstrations of more mature technologies anticipated for near-term, utility-scale deployment.

TVA’s hydroelectric system comprises 29 power-generating dams throughout the Tennessee River system and a pumped storage plant near Chattanooga, Tennessee. TVA’s generation portfolio is 11% hydropower.

Over the next six months, WPTO and TVA will develop an action plan that outlines their joint efforts.